Spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as spousal support, is an important topic of which
many potential new clients of the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan frequently ask questions about. With that in mind our office wanted to
share some details and experiences we have encountered in our representation
of clients. In our first post on the subject, we discussed contractual
spousal maintenance as well as some basic ins and outs regarding the subject.
With that in mind, what follows is a run-down of court ordered spousal
support as well as advice for handling either a request for maintenance
or answering a request from your spouse.
Court Ordered Spousal Maintenance: Essential bits of knowledge
Judges can order
spousal maintenance in situations where it is both warranted and the receiving spouse qualifies.
This spousal maintenance award is of course involuntary meaning that if
a judge orders you to pay the spousal maintenance you must do so regardless
of whether or not you agree with the decision.
Many of you reading this blog post may have concerns on how much money
you may be expected to pay and how long into the future the maintenance
will need to be paid. One bit of advice that I can provide is to keep
in mind that just because a court may order you to pay spousal maintenance
it does not mean that the amount of money that is ordered to be paid will
be large or that the payments will last years into the future. In fact,
you can read on and learn some background history of the spousal maintenance
laws in Texas as well as details on what courts will typically order in
terms of duration and amount of support.
Who is eligible for court ordered spousal maintenance?
For a party to be considered eligible by a Texas court for spousal maintenance,
that spouse must prove to a judge that once the
debts are divided up that there he or she will not have enough property to meet
their minimum, basic needs. This does not mean living the life you’ve
grown accustomed to or anything close to that. This means being able to
have a roof over your head and food in the pantry. So already you can
see that as the law is written a judge will not have an easy time ordering
spousal maintenance because in the vast majority of divorces both spouses
will leave the marriage with a sufficient share of property so as to meet
their basic needs once the divorce is finalized.
Additionally, a spouse must be able to show that at least one of the following
factors is at play:
-the spouse requesting the support is
-a child of the marriage has a
disability that prevents the spouse from going out and working a job to provide income
-the non-requesting spouse has committed
-the marriage must have lasted at least ten years in duration
If you are considering asking for spousal maintenance in your divorce a
piece of advice would be to go ahead and make an effort to earn an income
prior to filing for divorce. The reason being is that a court will not
be able to award you spousal maintenance if you have not attempted to
earn an income or make preparations to gain some training that can help
you to find a job.
Once you’re eligible for spousal maintenance how much can a judge
order you to be paid?
The two key questions for a judge to ask him or herself insofar as spousal
maintenance is concerned is how much will be awarded on a monthly basis
and for how long will the order run. A good rule of thumb for you to consider
is the difference between your monthly expenses and monthly income is
roughly the maximum that a judge will award in a spousal maintenance order.
Again, this is to meet minimum needs, not to allow you to live an extravagant
A judge will also consider both you and your spouse’s ability to earn an
income after the divorce as well as a party’s ability to pay their own
bills after the divorce if they are also mandated to pay
spousal support. The age, education and work experience of the requesting spouse is also
considered as well as their ability to attain proper training and education
to enhance their ability to find employment. So, a stay at home mom who
has a college degree and a prior work history as an executive or other
profession would have a tougher time to be awarded spousal support by
a court than another stay at home mom with only a high school degree and
no work experience at all.
Last, a court would take a look at less commonly occurring factors such
as the possible
wasting of community assets as a reason to award spousal support. If your spouse has a gambling addiction
where he or she took money out of community bank accounts for use in feeding
their gambling habit that is a great reason for a judge to be more willing
to award spousal support. Likewise, if community income was utilized by
your spouse towards an extramarital affair, both the extramarital affair
and the wasting of community income can be utilized as reasons for a judge
to award you spousal maintenance.
Part Three of The Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s series on Spousal Maintenance
Hopefully the first two blog posts on this subject have been interesting
to you all. Tomorrow, the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan will conclude our series of posts on spousal maintenance by discussing
more information on how much and for how long spousal maintenance may
If you have any questions related to spousal support or any other family
law matter please feel free to contact the attorneys with the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A
consultation with a licensed family law attorney can be scheduled for free six days a week.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Spousal Maintenance in Texas: Maximum payable amounts and length of commitments to pay
- Spousal Maintenance in a Texas Divorce: Court Ordered Maintenance
- Know How to Determine Whether Alimony will be Owed and for How Long, When
Preparing for Your Texas Divorce
- 3 Important Facts about Texas Alimony and Spousal Support
- Alimony or Spousal Support and a Disabled Spouse in Harris and Montgomery
Counties in Texas
- Spousal Support, Spousal Maintenance, and Alimony in Spring and Houston
Texas and when is it available?
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- My Spouse Has Accused Me of Adultery in my Texas Divorce and I Haven't
- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Sex, Lies, Rock-and-roll, and Adultery in a Texas Divorce
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Kingwood Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with ar
Kingwood, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyer in Kingwood TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing
a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas,
Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and